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U.S. EPA REGION 5
COOK COUNTY
CHICAGO

Congressional District # 04

PEOPLES GAS CRAWFORD STATION FORMER MGP

EPA ID# ILN000510192
Last Updated: March, 2012

Site Description

The Crawford Station former manufactured gas plant (MGP) site is located in Chicago, Illinois, at 3500 South Pulaski Road in Section 34, Township 39 North, Range 13 East (Cook County).  The site is bounded on the south by the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, on the north by the Chicago and Illinois Western Railroad, on the west by the Chicago and Western Indiana Belt Line Railroad, and to the east by Pulaski Road (formerly Crawford Avenue). The Crawford Station site does not include the far northeast corner of this area (approximately 30 acres on the southwest corner of the intersection of Pulaski Road and the Chicago and Illinois Western Railroad) that is occupied by a warehousing and manufacturing facility owned by Lincoln Property Company. Midwest Generation’s Crawford Power Plant occupies the property east of Pulaski Road.  The properties north of the site (across the railroad tracks) are residential, and the property west of the site is an industrial area containing an Exxon Mobil plant. The site is currently divided into 21 parcels with various owners.

In 1921, the Koppers Company of Pittsburgh and Peoples Gas entered into an agreement whereby Koppers built, financed, and operated a by-product coke plant at the Crawford Station.  Peoples Gas bought the gas and coke manufactured at the plant for distribution to consumers. Peoples Gas then acquired the facility in 1928.  The site was Peoples’ largest facility; it included 105 coke ovens (increased to 151 coke ovens between 1948 and 1950), 9 water gas sets, and two 10 million cubic foot gas holders.  By the late 1930s, the Crawford Station produced three types of gas: coke oven gas, carbureted water gas, and reformed natural gas. During the 1930s, several additions and modifications were made to the plant, including construction of a light oil refining plant, addition of liquefied petroleum (LP) gas peak shaving facilities, and conversion of five of the nine water gas sets to produce reformed natural gas and later oil gas.  Two more water gas sets were modified to produce reformed natural gas in 1946.  Forty LP tanks were installed in 1957.

By 1956, the Crawford Station was used only as a peaking unit (supplying gas and coke only when demand was at a peak, usually during the winter months).  Production was halted temporarily between 1958 and 1962 and then permanently after 1963.  The station was retired in 1965.  Dismantling of the station began in 1956 starting with portions of the coke oven plant.  The remainder of the station, including the two 10 million cubic feet gas holders, was dismantled in 1965. Peoples Gas sold 146 acres of the site property to First American Realty Company in 1966.

Site Responsibility

The site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions under federal and state oversight.

Threats and Contaminants

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, and cyanide were detected in groundwater and soil samples collected in various locations at the site.  Evidence of impacts to soils (described as tar, tar in fractures, tar-coated sand, naphthalene-type odor, and sheen) were observed at depths of up to 26 feet below ground surface (bgs) at various locations at the site.  Sediment samples collected in the Chicago River at locations both upstream and downstream of the site contain high levels of PAHs, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), oil and grease, and metals.  Many of the reported concentrations are at levels which may cause toxicity in organisms that live within the sediment (benthic invertebrates).  

Cleanup Progress

In 2005 EPA was approached by Wisconsin Public Service Corp. (WPSC) with a request to investigate and clean up seven former MGP sites in the state of Wisconsin under EPA’s Superfund Alternative Sites (SAS) program.  (The SAS Program addresses hazardous waste sites that might otherwise be eligible for listing on the National Priorities List (NPL), whereby the sites are investigated and cleaned up by a cooperative potentially responsible party (PRP), without formally listing the site on the NPL.)  WPSC subsequently merged with Peoples Energy to form Integrys Energy Group, and in 2007 Peoples Energy approached EPA with a request to address thirteen former MGP sites in the state of Illinois under the same SAS program.  Two Illinois MGP sites are located in Waukegan and eleven are located in Chicago, including the Crawford Station site.

EPA and Integrys entered into an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) for Remedial Investigations and Feasibility Studies at the two Waukegan site and an AOC for Engineering Evaluations and Cost Analyses (EE/CAs) at the eleven Chicago sites.  Since all twenty MGP sites have similar conditions and contaminants, and Integrys is responsible for each, the agreements allow a streamlined approach to site investigation and remedy development. Some benefits of the agreement include the use of multi-site documents, a mechanism to review the adequacy of past work, and scheduling flexibility to allow progress on the worst problems first. By the end of 2008, all of the mult-site documents had been approved, and site-specific work had begun on several of the sites. On October 31, 2008 EPA and Integrys entered into an AOC which converted the EE/CA AOC for the 11 Chicago former MGP sites to an RI/FS AOC.

To more effectively manage all 11 original Chicago sites, the RI/FS AOC organizes them into 4 sites: the North Shore Avenue Site, the North Branch Site, the South Branch Site. and the Crawford Site. Both the North Branch Site and the South Branch Site have several operable units. The North Branch Site is comprised of the Division Street Station Operable Unit (OU), the North Station OU, and the Willow Street/Hawthorned Avenue Station OU. One site is the the North Shore Avenue Station Site. The South Branch Site is comprised of the 22nd Street Station Upland OU, the Hough Place Station Upland OU, the Pitney Court Station Upland OU, the South Station Upland OU, the Throop Station Upland OU, and the South Branch River OU.

Investigations and Remediation Previously Performed

This site is composed of several parcels of property.  Site investigations were conducted by Peoples Gas on Parcel O in 2001; on Parcels A and B in 2001 and 2005; and on Parcel L in 2002.  Tar impacts were observed on all of these parcels.  Approximately 45 cubic yards of impacted soils were removed and disposed of off-site in conjunction with gas pipeline improvements on Parcel O.  Aside from this, the Peoples Gas parcels have not been remediated.  Access to perform site investigations on the remaining parcels (except for Parcel S) has not yet been obtained.  An investigation of Parcel S began in January 2007; on Parcels A and B in 2001 and 2005; and on Parcel L in 2002.  Additional investigation of the remaining contamination will take place under the RI/FS which is scheduled to begin by the summer or fall of 2012.  

Contacts

Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
Ross Del Rosario (delrosario.rosauro@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6195

 

 


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